Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy 2014, patience is a virtue, self congratulations and all that

Happy 2014! Can you believe it? Neither can I. Nevertheless, here we are, right? What did you do to celebrate? My family is in the habit of taking a hike on New Year’s day...

My lovies

View to the south hiking up Rabbit Mtn. (used to be called Rattlesnake Mtn. b/c of all the rattlesnakes around the area but some forward thinking person thought that nomenclature might be off-putting so renamed it)

I want to be able to describe this in words so that you can see it without having to look at the picture

In thinking about the past and the future, which tends to happen this time of year, I came across this old blog post that I wrote before that I don’t remember ever sharing:

We’ve all heard the old adage that patience is a virtue. It’s one I’ve learned to embrace on the path to creative writing publication for sure.
Last Thursday I went to National Book Award Finalist, Kent Haruf's author signing. He spoke about the writing process and how when an author sits down to work that moment of getting it right makes one feel like they are doing what they are really meant to in this world. I could totally identify with that.
For me, writing is about emotion. It's where I start and begin building from a nugget of a feeling I want to get across and share. It’s also what I look for and resonate with when I read a story. When an author has captured an image or a feeling exactly right, it's like looking in the mirror and it validates the reader. This is what I hope to do. I also like when an author captures something about life that I've noticed before but never spoken out loud or put words to. One particular example comes to mind with Sue Grafton's character Kinsey Millhone, noticing the dirt print underneath the front door mat. We’ve all seen it, possibly swept underneath it from time to time. But have you ever put words to it or discussed it much? Me neither but we both know what she's talking about, don't we?
The publishing process varies for everyone but to say it can be time consuming can often feel like the understatement of the year. In Kent's case it took him twenty years to get something put into print and paid for it.
So how does one keep their chin up in the meantime? A belief in oneself.
I don't mean to sound arrogant, it's just pretty simple really.
It's no coincidence that Oprah's life class on her new network last week talked about believing in your self. Kent spoke of this as well and added something about how there is a ton of writing talent out there but not much follow through.
In one of Oprah's shows Jim Carrey mentioned how he used to drive up to Mulholland Drive each night, look out over the expanse of L.A. and visualize his acting success. He'd drive home thinking: It is already mine it just hasn't materialized yet.
I love this power of visualization. It's a useful tool for writers for obvious reasons, but one of the many is imagining your success. What author hasn't? I've already written parts of my author talk for school visits and book signings, part of my acknowledgement pages and have given considerable thought and research to the design of my website. Dean Koontz once said that the imagination is a tool that you can learn to develop. Use it in your current work in progress. I suggest using it without abandon during the process of waiting to get published. Patience is a virtue but an active imagination doesn’t hurt. It's immensely useful in helping to pass the time.

One of the aspects I appreciate most about writing a blog is that I get to look back and recognize how much has been accomplished over time— something we often forget to do. It's hard to see on a daily basis. Did you leave a job in 2013? Start one? End a toxic relationship? Find the love of your life? What ever it is, find something about this past year that's changed and take a moment to pat yourself on the back! 
*done channeling Oprah for now*

No comments:

Post a Comment